Weekly therapy is looming. This afternoon, I get 50 minutes to disgorge the messy contents of my head and see if the jumble that is my anxiety and what’s going on in my life can be made sense of, in any shape or form. I am tired and I don’t really want to go, but it’s a bit like going to the gym or your exercise class, to get fit and loose wieght, you don’t want to, no one else can go for you, it hurts like hell when you go, but you know that unless you do, things are not going to change.
So back I go.
Two weeks ago, my therapist asked me to do some homework. She asked me to look at what I was exposing myself to, and whether it was good for me.
She knows I write a blog. She knows I am on social media. She knows I find social media helpful in many ways because sometimes the people there have been more kind and supportive and understanding than those around me in real life. This in itself is a whole topic for another day, and we won’t go into that.
However, she does feel strongly that what we are exposed to on social media can be detrimental to our mental health and she asked me to look at what I am watching, reading, seeing, noticing, commenting on, following and keeping up with, and to have a think about why and if those things are helpful to me.
I have done this before. When I had my “big” mental health breakdown, 5 years ago, I had a moment of madness, as they say and literally went through my Facebook friends list, and in the space of half an hour, reduced that list from over 700 to 250 people. I deleted people who I hadn’t had any contact with, in years, I deleted people who posted things that made me angry, I deleted people who shared stuff about how mental health issues could be cured with herbs and not drinking coffee (or simillar silly ideas) I deleted people who posted stuff about how marvelous their lives are, when in reality I knew that was the case, I removed family members who seemed to spend their time trying to find negative things to say on my feed, or used the information I shared as ammunition against me in real life to try and get me to live life the way they wanted. I cleaned up, and it felt good. My feed was a place where I saw what I wanted, from people I wanted to connect with. I did the same on other social media feeds. It was helpful.
It has to happen again. Facebook and other social media sites are not doing my mental health any good. I need to redress this!
Social media is like anything else, in life, good if used sensibly and useful for many things, but if you are feeling like it is causing you more stress or anxiety then you need to seriously clean out your feed.
My therapists theory is that social media is optional. We choose to expose ourselves to the world that way. Some things we don’t have any choice about, but social media is a choice and if you are going to use it you need to be wise about what it is giving you!
I use social media for work and for personal reasons. I don’t want to give it up. However I do want and need it to be a space that I feel safe in. I can choose what I see and don’t see. I can choose who sees what I share.
My homework for this last week was to look at my social media and clean it out. People or things that trigger my anxiety, who make me feel angry, who feel the need to forget that just because it’s internet doesn’t mean words don’t hurt and wound.
I don’t need to see what isn’t good for me.
This will mean certain family members will no longer be on my Facebook feed, this will mean people I know in real life won’t be there. It will mean cleaning out my Instagram and removing people I follow because I feel I have to but who’s lives don’t reflect my own choices in a way that causes me distress and anxiety.
It seems silly but it’s actually cathartic and cleansing.
Why should I allow negative things when I have the option to avoid them?
If something isn’t good for you, is causing you pain, you try to limit your exposure. It makes sense to make your social media a place that works for you. That’s what I’m doing for me.
Do you think social media should be your safe space? Do you keep it that way? How do you deal with making it work for you?